"I think what dad really showed the world was, of course, to have that appreciation for the natural world and to treat every living being on this planet as you would wish to be treated," Robert told E! News. "I think that's something that I'll always carry with me."
He continued, "I think that more than anything, I would hope that I really continue this message that life is short and we have to live every day to the fullest."
The Crocodile Hunter star died at the age of 44 in 2006 after being stabbed in the chest by a stingray barb while shooting the documentary Ocean's Deadliest, leaving behind Robert, his wife Terri Irwin, and daughter Bindi Irwin. And 16 years later, Robert is continuing to honor his late father's legacy by embodying his message of kindness and spreading it to the world.
"We have to create as much positive change as we can for our environment and for our fellow humans as well," the 18-year-old said. "And just to treat one with kindness, and I think he exemplified that perfectly. And I'll always just feel so lucky that I had the most amazing dad in the world, who was literally a superhero."
And one month ahead of Steve Irwin Day—the annual international event in honor of his life and legacy on Nov. 15—Robert announced the release of his new photography book, Robert Irwin's Australia.
"This is a story of natural beauty, environmental turmoil and hope told through my lens," the photographer wrote on Instagram Oct. 7. "It's a proud moment for me and a passion project that has been years in the making. Discover my perspective of this incredible country, and how photography and conservation go hand in hand."
Robert told E! that his love for photography comes from his dad, sharing, "He was an extremely passionate human being in front of the lens, but behind the lens, he was very well versed as well. He loved getting out and taking images."
Robert Irwin's Australia is available through the Australia Zoo now.